It seemed like a safe place to rest: empty, clean, and well-built. She was weary from the search, having traveled so far in search of the right shelter. It was clear that, once, someone had loved this place; that family had been here, and children, snug in this abode. That had been long ago, though, and the place simply held the echo of memories. With the weather turning cold and wet, and she knew she needed to hunker down.
Her feet hurt. It felt like she had scaled many mountains, traversed grasslands and forest, and climbed rough terrain bereft of kindness. She journeyed alone, though she had seen others from time to time – she thought they had seen her, too, but none had stopped, simply moving along as though she were an apparition. She longed for connection, but something deep within compelled her to keep moving. Searching. For what?
There was a fire within her that drove her on this quest. She didn’t understand, exactly, what it was. But it was strong. She obeyed the drive, and she kept walking. She was thirsty, hungry, and she kept moving. And looking.
The pine was tall and beautiful, and she was drawn to the shelter of its green-fringed boughs. As she climbed, she noticed the beauty of the variegated bark, smelled the fragrance of the needles. Yes, she thought, I will rest here. In the crook of a branch, something caught her eye and she went to investigate further. It was the perfect place! And it was available. She crawled in, curled up, and went to sleep.
During the night, a storm arose. The high winds shook the tree, but she was undisturbed, deep in her transformative dreams. The driving rain soaked her shelter, loosening it from where it had been affixed, and a sudden gust of wind blew it (and her) from the safety of the tree. She sailed down to the grass, landing on a carpet of needles in the mushroom ring. Still asleep.
And she remained asleep when the wanderer found her in the ruined nest. As the wanderer gently looked within it, she saw the sleeper – curled into a ball, seemingly unaware of the drama that had transpired in the night. Isabella still slept, secure in the nest’s embrace, unready to awaken.
The wanderer carefully moved the crumbling nest to a safer location, under a rock overhang where Isabella could remain asleep. One day – if everything went as needed – Isabella would become something very different. And on that day, she would be able to fly back up into the tree that, briefly, gave her shelter, and from which she sailed down to earth.
Did you like this short story? See the inspiration, Isabella, here.